Formula 1: How the FIA severely failed Jamie Chadwick

Jamie Chadwick is one of the best female drivers in the world, but despite her success, she was unable to break through into an FIA feeder series.
W Series Round 5:Budapest - Race
W Series Round 5:Budapest - Race / Dan Mullan/GettyImages

Jamie Chadwick’s era of open-wheel dominance came before the Formula 1 Academy was created by Susie Wolff as a pathway for young female drivers to break into the sport.

The British driver had tremendous success in the W Series before it went under, plus other F3 championships. However, to this day, many individuals are still puzzled over how Chadwick was unable to get a seat in the FIA’s Formula 3 series.

The 26-year-old was seriously considered for a seat in Formula 3 heading into the 2022 season, but a number of issues kept it from coming to fruition. Her entrance would have been historical, given how long it has been since a female driver competed in Formula 1 or any other FIA feeder series.

What went wrong for Jamie Chadwick?

When Chadwick spoke to MotorSport a few years ago, she noted that, despite all of her earnings from her success in the W Series, finances still posed an issue, keeping her from moving up.

"The next step is still four times the budget I have. It’s still not the easiest so we haven’t been able to confirm a programme just yet."

Jamie Chadwick

Despite the issues Chadwick faced, she still expected to overcome them and make the move into Formula 3 in 2022. However, it never turned into a reality.

Bruno Michel, the man who oversees Formula 2 and Formula 3, was someone who also expected Chadwick's arrival in 2022, stating that she was certainly ready for it. However, after things broke down entirely, he was confused as to how and why she never made it.

Additionally, Chadwick is a member of the Williams Driver Academy, but she was unable to participate in free practice or testing sessions in Formula 1 due to not having enough Super License points.

Williams could have done more to help Chadwick out in advancing her career, as seen recently with Mercedes and the FIA working to lower the age requirement for a Super License to 17 to help Kimi Antonelli.

Female drivers breaking into an FIA feeder series has always been difficult, and it continues to be that way. Despite the creation of the F1 Academy, the odds of a driver being able to progress from there into an F3 seat is still quite low.

All of the difficulties Chadwick faced essentially forced her to leave racing in Europe and cross the pond to the United States and join Indy NXT. She recently became the first female winner since 2010 at Road America in the series right below IndyCar, and she currently sits in fifth place in the championship standings.

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The FIA could and should have done more to help Chadwick get her career going, as she really had the talent and skills to be an F3 driver and even an F2 driver later on.